Firewatch fans are worried that In the Valley of Gods has been canceled

(Image credit: Valve)

In the Valley of Gods, Campo Santo's follow-up to the excellent Firewatch, was unveiled at The Game Awards in late 2017. In April 2018 we got a closer look at the game and spoke in detail with the studio about the relationships in the game and its many inspirations, from silent films to 1920s archaeology, all in service of capturing the feeling of what it might really be like to run your thumb across an ancient, inscripted wall.

Since then, there's been nothing. That silence isn't out of character for Valve, which acquired Campo Santo right around the time of that preview, but recent changes in the Twitter bios of three of its lead developers—Firewatch producer and 3D environment artist Jane Ng, art director Claire Hummel, and Campo Santo co-founder Jake Rodkin—has some followers worried that the game has been canceled.

A check of the Internet Archive confirms that the changes were made relatively recently. The Twitter bios of Ng and Hummel both indicated that they were working on In the Valley of Gods as recently as October 2019, while Rodkin's bio made the same reference up to September. All three now indicate simply that they are employed by Valve.

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One person responding to McVicker's tweet suggested that the change could be a simple matter of developer turnover, but that doesn't strike me as very likely given the leading roles that all three played at Campo Santo. It could also be related to the recently confirmed Half-Life: Alyx VR project, which could be a good fit for a team that's already got one super-personal (and very good) first-person game to its credit. Or maybe it just doesn't want its developers talking about what they're doing before it's ready for an official reveal. That certainly wouldn't be out of character. 

It's a strange situation, and not necessarily indicative of anything more than a shift in focus for these particular developers. Valve famously allows employees to work on any project they choose. 

The website for In the Valley of Gods is still up, and so is the Steam page. But the announcement trailer on the Campo Santo YouTube channel has been set to private (you can still see it via The Game Awards), and in response to a recent tweet bemoaning the game's purported cancellation, Ng said that she was glad the poster connected with Firewatch (despite some low-key rudeness) but made no mention of In the Valley of Gods' status one way or the other. 

Taken altogether, it seems a bit odd at the very least, and not at all reassuring for anyone eager for Campo Santo's next thing. I've reached out to Valve for more information and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.